Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stumping The Readers

It has been brought to my attention that the appearance sometimes of odd pictures on this blog, with no accompanying explanation, has puzzled some readers. One of the best rewards for writing this blog has been meeting a number of nice people: two of the nicest are Janice and Jay, who live on a beautiful piece of wooded land west of here, with their house looking over a large pond. We've traded garden tours, and last Saturday, we went together to an Iris Dement concert (the concert, incidentally, was quite charming; it was as if we were all sitting around somebody's living room while they sang for us... it's not everyday that you see a performer on stage ask somebody in the audience to go buy them a bottle of beer). Anyway, Janice mentioned that she still reads the blog, but is quite puzzled by the occasional mysterious presence of strange pictures, with no accompanying story to tell what they represent; she mentioned specifically one picture of a pile of dirt or something (I had a sinking sensation that she was talking about a picture of my prized rock garden, but I didn't say anything). Well, there is an explanation for these pictures: it's all Blogger's fault. For those not on the working end of Blogger, let's just say it is quirky... I hate to seem ungrateful for a service that is, after all, free (I personally think Google is missing out on jillions of dollars of revenue by not offering a system of subscription upgrades with an easy way of converting your free blog to a professional web-site... I'd pay in a flash). What I've run into with Blogger, is that when I transfer pictures to my blog from my computer, occasionally they disappear into cyberspace. If I've appended a long piece of writing to it (like this), it disappears too. Therefore if I plan on an extensive accompanying story, I upload the picture first, then add the text, so during the time I'm typing, the pictures sit there on the blog without a clue as to what they show; usually the gap is short, but occasionally during this time, things come up that require my immediate attention... like Liz coming home from the store with a bag of cookies.

It might be time to make the big switch to a blog software that works - Typepad. There may be little things I'd like it to do better, but I've never had the problems with photos, posting, etc. that people on Blogger seem to have.
Mmm. Cookies.
As an RSS subscriber I see many of your images as single blog entries. I assume there's no way to put more than one image in a Blogger entry.

Tracy is right. Typepad is quite nice & flexible and has three paid levels. Not sure how you could migrate there and take your blog with you. And then too you'd probably lose some readers in the transfer.
That's why I haven't moved... I'd have to change my URL, lose all my feeds, confuse a lot of people (including myself). Like I said, I can't figure out why (maybe there's some technical reason) Google doesn't offer a meaningful blog upgrade for a fee; they dropped Blogspot Plus(I don't know what it even consisted of). They are missing out on some big bucks... what gives??? They start all kinds of new services, and ignore millions of potential customers right in their lap. How smart is that?
Of course you can enter more than one image into a single post!! I do it often, sometimes uploading 5 or 6 at a time.
There is always the Picassa icon under your images, I always assumed the image itself was part of a single post, there is always a comment link....
Of all the crazy flashing and confusing blogs, I find yours simple, elegant and always insightful!
Don: I just took a look at Typepad's instructions for moving Blogger content over, and it's not easy (although it can be done).

But, if you're really frustrated, the move might be worth it. You can keep your Blogger account with a final post that gives the address of your new account - that way people can find you.

I believe Kathy over at Cold Climate Gardening transitioned to Wordpress within the last year - you could also ask her how that went. (Although, now that I think about it, I think she went from a website to a blogging software, but I'm not positive about that.)

I don't work for Typepad, but I've been very impressed with the service. I think Wordpress is the other big blog software out there.
I haven't had trouble with Blogger pictures, but I have a different process. I write the text first and save it as a draft (don't want to lose those precious words). Then I open the draft under edit and add the pictures. The pictures go to the top but you can drag and drop them anywhere you want within the text. Blogger allows you to download five pictures at a time but you can do it several times for a post. I've been using Blogger Beta. Hope this helps.
I appreciate all your advice; I'll have to admit, I would have (and should have) moved already, but I keep hoping Blogger will come out with an upgraded subscription service, allowing me to just keep my url... I mean everybody else in the world uses their free service to attract people to an upgraded, premium service, but when you WANT to pay Google for a better product, no soap. Duh! I never thought about holding multiple images in my Picasa tray and trying to upload them all at once, so my pictures don't all appear as individual posts; it just never occured to me you could do that... I owe you some chocolate chip cookies for that advice (do you like Bud Light with your cookies)?
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